Interview with Steven A. Meyerowitz & Victoria Prussen Spears of RAIL
The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law (RAIL) is the flagship publication of Full Court Press, an imprint of Fastcase. RAIL is published six times a year and includes contributions from leading thinkers in a vitally important area of 21st century law. So where did this all start? Where is RAIL headed? What impact can it make on your practice now? We sat down with Steven A. Meyerowitz, Editor-In-Chief of Rail, and Victoria Prussen Spears, Editor of Rail, and presented them a few frequently asked questions about the Journal to get their response:
What about robotics, artificial intelligence and law enticed you to be Editors of the RAIL journal?
STEVEN: In February 2017, Elon Musk said, “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen. And if my assessment is correct and they probably will happen, then we have to think about what are we going to do about it?” Victoria and I knew that there was something that we could do about it.
Shortly after, Steve Errick, Fastcase’s Chief Operating Officer, with whom we have worked for many years on many projects, spoke with us to brainstorm about a new AI journal for Fastcase. We knew this was our something “to do about it.”
VICTORIA: We then spent weeks communicating with numerous lawyers and other professionals. We read scores of articles on robots, robotics, artificial intelligence, and related subjects. And we studied the publishing industry for information about robot law. After all of that behind-the-scenes research and effort, we found that although we are on the verge of a technological revolution about to affect businesses and individuals and the lawyers that serve them, no single U.S. publication covered the law relating to these developments. With changes occurring on a regular basis, and with new laws and rules to be enacted to govern them, we all decided that the time was right to begin a new journal on robotics, artificial intelligence, and the law.
How do you keep a pulse on the robotics and artificial intelligence industry to ensure the RAIL journal relays that active pulse to its readers?
STEVEN: Before the first issue of the journal was ever published, we assembled a highly qualified board of editors with expertise in the law relating to robotics and artificial intelligence. In addition, we are in regular touch with hundreds of lawyers and law firms across the country and internationally, and every day we read about what’s happening in this field.
Out of all RAIL journal issues that have been published, what one article sticks out in your mind as a “must-read” for all attorneys?
VICTORIA: We believe that all of the articles that we have published in The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law should be read by attorneys at law firms, in-house counsel, corporate compliance officers, government officials and their counsel, senior business executives, scientists, engineers, and anyone interested in the law governing robots and robotics. RAIL is fascinating reading!
For example, all of the articles in the issue that is about to publish reflect the quality of our content. Consider their titles: “AI and Text-Based Analytics in Complex Environmental Litigation – What Environmental Practitioners Need to Know,” “FDA’s AI White Paper: To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question,” “Criminal Liability and Artificial General Intelligence,” “Will the EU be an Exporter of Ethical Artificial Intelligence?,” “Drones and Urban Air Mobility in the President’s Budget,” “How Smart Cities and Connected Cars May Benefit from Each Other,” and “What Does the Executive Order Calling for Artificial Intelligence Standards Mean for AI Regulation?” They are all must reads! The real question is which article to read first.
Besides a laptop and smartphone, what is a piece of technology that you have embraced? And What technology are you waiting to be fleshed out before you accept it into your day-to-day life?
STEVEN: Alexa, can you please answer that question for us? Seriously, though, it would be difficult to think of new technology that I have not embraced.
VICTORIA: And I certainly very much appreciate the safety technology available on my new semi-autonomous driving car.
With a wide-ranging career in the legal space, what’s the 1 piece of advice you give every attorney?
STEVEN: Get experience, discover what you like, and focus on that. After graduating from Harvard Law School, I worked for a major international law firm and gained invaluable experience about the law and law firm practice. I left to form a law firm marketing communications consulting company and work with some of the largest and most successful law firms in the country, helping lawyers write, produce, and place their bylined articles, newsletters, brochures, and other marketing materials, and integrating publications into a law firm’s overall marketing program. In addition, I have been an outside editor for a number of law and business publishers for many years, now including Fastcase and The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law. I am fortunate to be able to combine the two things I like the most – law and publishing – in my career.
VICTORIA: I would offer the same advice – essentially, do what you love! And it is advice that I, too, have followed. After I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and Brooklyn Law School, I practiced law at a leading Wall Street law firm – a remarkably fulfilling opportunity. I then became counsel to a prominent law firm on Long Island, New York, before joining Meyerowitz Communications, where I am a researcher, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Ultimately, I turned to publishing because I have always loved books, reading, and writing, and, of course, law. Working on RAIL, and the other publications we edit, is a true labor of love. Knowing that lawyers are using our publications to keep apprised of the latest developments in their fields inspires me to ensure that all of our content meets the highest editorial standards.
Working with Fastcase is particularly rewarding for us as the entire Fastcase team shares our passion for robotics, artificial intelligence, and law, as well as a commitment to producing the most exciting and cutting edge journal on the market today.